Hillcrest appears proceeding with branch in Henry County
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
It appears Hillcrest Mental Health services of Washington will be moving a branch into Mt. Pleasant in the near future.
Kristin Helm, lead therapist in Washington County; Julie Heiderscheit, vice-president of human development and chief operating officer; and Pat Colthurst, community services director and CPC of Louisa County; along with Henry County CPC Sarah Berndt, discussed the expansion with the board during the regular Henry County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning.
“As you know I’ve been informing you with our problems with having access to prescriber service on a reliable basis for the past two years and how we have been trying to work with the provider we had to supply that service. That provider has become unable to provide that service for us. We had to refer people to Fairfield, Washington or Burlington. The problem with that is, those people we are funding, transportation is an issue,” Berndt explained to the board.
“We then begin talking with Hillcrest (based out of Washington) and said we would like them to expand to Henry County. Hillcrest told us that they would do that when it was financially feasible, that’s why we are here now. We need to finalize that opportunity and then Hillcrest can start taking commitments since Optimae (Life Solutions) won’t take any new commitments,” Berndt continued. “We need to get a provider in here that could take on commitments and that way we have someone we can refer people to in the county.”
Hillcrest has toured the building in Mt. Pleasant at 16 North Jackson Street and expressed interest in the location.
“We want to make sure we have a couple of offices for therapy and we want to be able to set up Telehealth as well in this office. We want to be able to offer a mix of services from this site,” Heiderscheit said to the board. “We are non-profit and we have been fairly successful at running our mental health centers proficiently. We have had Washington County since 2001 and Jackson and Dubuque County since 2006. We were able to turn the deficit to break even or better than break even situations. We are trying to use our resources.”
Berndt then explained that this was part of the original agreement made with Hillcrest. “Before we talked about a contract they requested that we help them find a space in order to expand. You (the board) looked at our space here in town and they (Hillcrest) toured it as well. We can utilize the space we have so much better and that will help to offset some of the cost of them expanding here,” she informed the board.
There are a couple of issues with the space though. “We will need a sound barrier to provide patient confidentiality. That way if someone is talking on the phone with a patient, people in the waiting area can’t hear what is going on. Also a door to the hallway because of the limited number of people that will be in the building at a given time we need a way to control it,” Heiderscheit said to the board.
“Well, I know if two of the best CPC’s in the state tell us to do something, we listen. I mean that seriously. I have the greatest respect for these two ladies (Berndt and Colthurst) possible. I’m sure we’re going for it, I know I am,” Lindeen said in reference to Hillcrest expanding into Henry County.
“I think it’s just good to expand overall. We are providing another choice, not just for our patients, but for the general public as well. It brings so much to the community,” Colthurst added.
“It is part of the region’s responsibility to have access to mental health services. So we are doing what we need to do with this expansion,” Berndt also said.
The board will discuss the contract once it has been written in the near future.
Jake Hotchkiss, Henry County engineer, discussed his weekly updates before the board. He will be bringing a recommendation for the bridge inspection before the board next week. He has three potential contractors and he wants to research them and make the best choice. “Money won’t necessarily be an issue when it comes to the one I choose,” Hotchkiss said. “I need to find the best one.”
Hotchkiss also informed the board that:
• Some maintenance on bridges was done around the guardrails. Cleaning them up with an attachment on the skid loader. It was a three-man crew and didn’t have to do a lot of shovel work.
• Tuesday work was done in Salem at Liberty Street and Franklin Avenue where there were drainage issues. Asphalt was added and ditching done to get some of the water off the road and intersection. The west side was taken care and the east could be a potential fix if Salem wants to go into a project together.
• Wednesday, blading of the territories was done and finished up asphalt patch in Salem with seeding.
• Thursday, the boom mower was near Hillsboro and also work was done on the shoulders of paved roads. Some work will be done in the northwest area of the county to work on some sliding issues.
• Friday, work continued with the boom mower and finished work on the paved roads shoulders, they have all been pulled up for winter.
The board will meet again on Thursday at 9 a.m.